Pole Slices Through Tour Bus in Gruesome Crash That Left at Least 5 Dead: 'This Is a Tragedy'

Rescuers were greeted with a grisly sight when they arrived to the crash in Merced early Tuesday.

At least five people have died in a horrific crash in California when a tour bus was all but sliced in half by a pole.

Shocking photos from the scene of the crash Tuesday show the pole still sticking out of the bus, which officials said originated in Mexico, on the side of Highway 99 in Merced.

Officials told the Associated Press that the speeding vehicle veered off the highway just after 3 a.m.

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Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said the bus hit the pole of a highway sign head-on.

Warnke said rescuers pulled out "bags of body parts" following the crash, including those belonging to survivors.

In addition to five fatalities, at least five more were taken a nearby hospital in critical condition.

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Among the seriously injured was the bus driver, 57-year-old Mario David Vasquez.

According to reports, the bus started in Mexico and stopped in Los Angeles Monday night on its way to the Sacramento area on Tuesday.

"This is a substantial scene, this is a tragedy, and this will take a substantial amount of time to investigate and to clear," said Officer Moises Onsurez with Merced CHP.

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